This is mainly going to be a photo montage from my last day at Madrone Ranch Stables. Enjoy.
Admittedly, Hero was always my "pet," the cutest and the most intelligent 12.2 hands of pony money can by. Hero was not given his name, he earned it. He can go around a course at National Pony Finals and then tote a six year old across crossrails and still look good doing it. Despite his Napoleon complex, Hero understood what some horses never learn: if you do your job well, they stop bothering you. Hero will always be "the pony I never got" that I finally did.
I call our 8 horse trailer "The Great White" because we called our old 6 horse that looked like a giant white whale (it was a lot taller and wider and stouter) "Moby." This is a 1987 Lightline Sundowner (aluminum) that I bargained down to a steal of a price from the person selling it. It used to be navy blue and you could hardly see the aluminum. I never realized just how big this mammoth thing was until I tried to take a picture of the whole rig today. It looks almost half the size of the barn! No wonder it hurt my back. It was a great trailer though. They don't make them like that anymore. As a note, the new manager Beverly is inside the tack room but you can't see her.
The english translation of that is: I've got a nice woman next to me, in a nice car, with a nice trailer and a nice horse inside--how could life be bad?)¿Tengo una mujer agradable al lado de mí, en un coche agradable,
con un acoplado agradable y un interior agradable del caballo -- cómo podría
la vida ser mala?
It didn't matter to Chuy that he didn't own the truck or trailer,
or the horse, that I was his boss, that he had to clean stalls every day. He
was in that moment able to find happiness and point it out to me. Chuy showed me how to be greatful and appreciate those things which sometimes go unnoticed.
In the time I've known Chuy, I've watched our relationship go full
circle. He used to drive me crazy when I was young and impatient and had a
chip on my shoulder. He wasn't always a saint--he'd wear his shirt unbuttoned all the way down to his belly button, he'd show up drunk and hung over and he was always making rude grunting comments about how terrible life was. Then, at some point, he left and I grew up. When he came back, I realized how fond I was of Chuy. He was an open book who spoke his mind and I of all people could appreciate that. He suddenly was friendly and helpful and I could ask him to button up his shirt and he wouldn't just storm off. I had learned not only how to manage Chuy, but my own emotions as well.
Today when I took the above picture, he had come into the office to say goodbye. I was sitting there talking with him and one of the other
guys and I saw him just absentmindedly button up the top button on his shirt. It was like this sudden disbelief that I had finally gotten him to respect himself and be proud of what he was doing. He wasn't buttoning up his shirt because I had told him to but because he finally takes pride in his work and understands the
honor and importance.
I'll miss Chuy the most. I'll miss the fact that I can finally understand more or less most of what he says, and that I can tell jokes with him and laugh at things that not everyone can find humor in. I'll miss having Chuy
around as a true friend.